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David Bowie and Prince

I'll admit right now that I'm not too familiar with these two artists. Yet, I just don't know where to start with these two artists. I've looked into Bowie more than Prince, but "Low" didn't really interest me and the jarring guitar sound kind of turned me off. He does have some brilliant songs like "Life on Mars?" and "Heroes" but I would like some other recommendations on him (both songs and albums).

Prince is even more unfamiliar to me and I have no idea with him. Any song or album recommendations for him would be helpful.

These two aren't really the only two "acclaimed" artists that I don't really get. The Rolling Stones are another (brilliant songs, but mediocre albums in my opinion). I guess I don't really agree with many of the critics opinions.

So in general, any recommendations on Bowie and Prince (and maybe even Stones albums) would be appreciated. Preferably the more accessible stuff.

Re: David Bowie and Prince

Yeah, Low is probably not the ideal introduction to Bowie. Ziggy Stardust is essential by any standard, and I recommend it highly...but if you're looking for "accessible" Bowie, I think Young Americans and Station to Station are pretty good jumping-on points (which is not to say that Ziggy isn't accessible).

As for Prince, I imagine you'll be hearing from my colleague Moonbeam soon. I predict he recommends 1999.

Re: David Bowie and Prince

Best starting points: Hunky Dory and 1999.

Re: David Bowie and Prince

Hunky Dory or Ziggy Stardust both display Bowie's songwriting skills, which I don't think are as great as some people do, but are still fairly considerable.

For Prince it's hard to argue against 1999, the opening three-song sequence of "1999," Little Red Corvette" and "Delirious" rivals any in rock. Overall, though, Purple Rain is definitely his most accessible album. Sign o' the Times is great, but it's probably not the best starting place.

Re: David Bowie and Prince

Hi Penguin!

I'm glad to hear that you are interested in getting to know 2 of my top 10 artists!

As a rule, I tend to enjoy getting into an artist's work chronologically, so that I have a natural sense of evolution. However, with artists like David Bowie and Prince, whose catalogues are so immense and varied, it can be a bit intimidating. As such, I actually think a comprehensive compilation (like the Sound and Vision set or even the 2-disc Best of Bowie for DB, and The Hits/The B-Sides for Prince) might be a good starting point. It may help you determine which eras of their careers that appeal to you the most, and then get the albums from which that material comes.

As for individual albums, I'd say Bowie's "classic" period lasts from 1970-1980, while Prince's goes from 1980-1988, although I could easily extend it to 1995. I really don't think you can go wrong with any of the albums therein, but some may not be the best starting points, especially since both artists changed so drastically throughout those periods.

With Bowie, you may want to start with Hunky Dory and/or Ziggy Stardust and work your way forward. You may find that by the time you get to Low, you may have grown a palette for his work that may make you appreciate it more. Highlights along the way (for me, anyway) would include Aladdin Sane, Station to Station, Low and ultimately Scary Monsters, which I think is his best album.

With Prince, I'd recommend starting with 1999 or Purple Rain and then delving into Sign o' the Times. If you feel you want to explore him more than that, you may want to start with Dirty Mind and work your way forward. Highlights on that journey for me would include... well, just about everything, but especially 1999, Parade, Sign o' the Times, Lovesexy, Symbol and The Gold Experience. A good compilation of outtakes/extra material called Crystal Ball was issued in 1998, but it covers material from 1983-1996, mostly focusing on the aborted Dream Factory sessions of 1986 and the surprisingly rich 1993-1995 period.

Re: David Bowie and Prince

Bowie is one of my favourite artists, specially because his work is so varied.

As everybody said, Ziggy and Hunky are the best choices to start. Maybe Ziggy is the most accesible one (and my favourite).

Maybe some others albums don't have the consistency of the most acclaimed ones, but they are pretty good (Heroes, Station to Station, Scary Monster, etc.), with great gems in them like "Heroes", "Ashes to Ahses" and "Station to Station" (I love these songs). The song "Space Oddity" is also a must.

Hope you like it !

Re: David Bowie and Prince

If you're looking for an overview, go with Bowie's 2 disc set Best of Bowie and then delve into albums based on the tracks you like best on the compilation. If you're looking for album recommendations, my personal favourites are Ziggy Stardust and Scary Monsters.

For Prince I recommend you start with The Very Best Of Prince. If you're still interested, my personal favourite albums are 1999 and Purple Rain.

Re: David Bowie and Prince

I noticed that Bowie does have some brilliant songs, so that was a bit of a starting point. I'll make sure to find "Hunky Dory" and "Ziggy Stardust" and pick up those.

As for Prince, I'll look for "1999". It seems like the best place to start.

Thanks for the responses!

Re: David Bowie and Prince

I'd go with Ziggy Stardust for Bowie. Hunky Dory is accessible, but it's not very representative of his other work.

For Prince, Purple Rain or 1999. Purple Rain's stronger overall but 1999 has the best singles.

Re: David Bowie and Prince

I'd just like to throw out there that I think The Very Best of Prince is an awful, awful compilation. An artist with a catalog as rich, diverse and extensive as Prince should never be reduced to a single disc.